U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell
announced on May 10 that the city of Ann Arbor will receive $229,060 to support 10 AmeriCorps
members in expanding climate change efforts through community outreach.
AmeriCorps will be responsible for educating 1,000 individuals. Their goal is to engage 700 individuals in Ann Arbor's decarbonization programs and get 500 individuals to commit to taking action to reduce climate pollution in their homes.
Dr. Missy Stults, Ann Arbor's sustainability and innovations director
, is tasked with overseeing the staff member who will work directly with the AmeriCorps members.
“This is our first AmeriCorps member program, so I'm really excited for that. I think that’s pretty cool,” Stults says. “In Ann Arbor, we’ve got this audacious, aggressive goal of being carbon neutral community-wide by 2030.”
The main thing the city needs to achieve this goal is people, Stults says.
“[The AmeriCorps members] are going to work directly with the office [of sustainability and innovations] to help make sure residents have the opportunity to engage in our shared carbon and decarbonization work,” Stults says. “Decarbonization is an alternative term to basically say we’re trying to get our carbon pollution down.”
The AmeriCorps members will also do community outreach through 20 volunteers who will support decarbonization assessments and land stewardship. Stults says she plans to leverage the AmeriCorps members to reach residents the city hasn't traditionally engaged with as much, particularly those living in areas with higher exposure to pollution or other environmental problems.
Stults says she wants not only to make sure those individuals know about Ann Arbor's decarbonization programs, "but to get insights from them about what we should be doing with our programs so we can change them, modify them, and make sure they're strong and effective as humanly possible."
In total, Michigan will receive over $13 million in funding from AmeriCorps’ 2023 State and National Grant Awards
. Along with initiating decarbonization education, the grants’ purpose is to support students, conserve public lands, assist the homeless community, provide resources for medically underserved citizens, engage in water crisis recovery programs, and support local police through volunteer engagement.
Layla McMurtrie is a recent Eastern Michigan University graduate and former editor-in-chief of The Eastern Echo. She has a passion for arts and culture and hopes to tell the stories of underrepresented Michigan residents.
Photo by Doug Coombe.
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